Sunday, 30 October 2011

A little too much sun yesterday woops,

Before the sun burn, wooops.
It really looks like this blog is turning into my run down of the weather. Three days ago I got soaked at the Kapiti Coast and yesterday I got sunburnt, perhaps even a little sun stroke thrown in as well. Woops.

Yesterday I decided to explore my local area and walk up Mount Victoria, which is a hill it really is not a mountain!  Mount Victoria divides Hataitai the new area I live in and the main city. It was a gorgeous day so the perfect opportunity do one of the 'top ten things to do in Wellington'. I also arranged to meet a fellow traveller at the top Mount Victoria whom I met in Hamilton a couple of weeks ago. So was a perfect afternoon of catching up and seeing the city.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

The Kapiti coast.

I have been exploring an area near Wellington for the last couple of days and have been to the Kapiti coast.

I found a leaflet last week for a place called Queen Elizabeth Park which looked really interesting and had a lovely walk along the coast. ( I have really got into hiking/ walking whilst I have been away). I thought it was the perfect opportunity before moving into my new place to go and explore.

Monday, 24 October 2011

A day of meeting family and watching the All Blacks make New Zealand go crazy,

Yesterday was a fun day. I got chance to meet a half cousin who was so welcoming and kind. And then in the evening I watched the All Blacks take New Zealand to victory in the Rugby World Cup.

On Saturday I had a phone call from my mum's cousin Gretchen, who lives in Dunedin New Zealand.  Gretchen  has been very kind and helpful before coming away and since I have arrived here. When finding out I was in Wellington she mentioned I had a cousin, Gina, in Wellington (her Grandma and my Granddad where brother and sister).

Not too long later Gina was in touch arranging to meet me the next day for lunch and show me around the outer regions of Wellington. We arranged to meet at 1pm outside the train station with Gina looking for me in my spotty coat. I don't know about anyone else but I always love it in movies when some one can be spotted from a distance because of an item of clothing or an object. Well since being in New Zealand I have been able to say to people 'you don't know me but look for my spotty coat' and it works every time :) (sorry slightly off track there)

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Week two - Wellington

Hello everyone this is another long entry. I am missing quite a bit out this week and it jumps around a lot sorry, I think I need to update more than once a week I always have so much to say and forget what I want to tell you all.
Sunday 16th - Saturday 22nd

I cant believe that two weeks have whizzed by already.
It has been a week of ups and downs this week. I have had moments of pure panic thinking argh what the hell have I done, and other moments that I am so excited to be here.

I arrived in Wellington from Auckland on the Saturday evening at 8.00pm tired, grimy and in pain after falling up a set steps getting into the train. Note to self don't be clumsy and never take co-codamol again as I was like a zombie when arriving in Wellington all I wanted was my bed.

I cheated on getting to my hostel and got a taxi. I was being lazy I know, but hey once in a while is ok. I arrived with the receptionist being completely off his head, the next day he did not even remember checking me in. hmmm. I had decided to stay at this particular hostel as it was a smaller hostel and reviews said it had a lot of long timers so I figured I could get some tips. Well I was wrong none of the long timers wanted to talk to new people everyone was in groups and all people wanted to do was watch TV. Luckily I met a nice English girl, Sarah, on my second day who was on a three month trip and also getting ignored by everyone else so we escaped and went to watch the New Zealand Australia match.

My first full day in Wellington I did what I like to do in any new city and that’s walk around and get my bearings. I also wanted to see if I felt comfortable here and would I want to make it my base for a few months. Before moving out here I had been reading about the cities in new Zealand and where is best to live. I had originally chosen Wellington as it sounded like a very arty city, and had a very young vibe about it. Then I had decided Auckland as it is the biggest city and figured I would find work easier, after visiting the two cities I have chosen Wellington. I am completely in love with this city all ready. It is small enough to walk around, it has really cute cafés and bars , amazing scenery it is a truly stunning city. 

Relaxing and enjoying the sunshine.
Parliment Building
Wellington reminds me very much of Bristol in the UK. I lived in Bristol for six years and loved the city being very sad when I left last year. So its great to find a new fun city that reminds me a little of home :) on that first Saturday the sun came out making the city look even more beautiful and boosting my mood. I particularly enjoyed walking down to the harbour and finding a farmers market. Enjoying a yummy venison burger and soaking in some vitamin D. When arriving back in the city in the evening I met Sarah who was really into the Rugby so we headed down to Wellington's fan zone. I am really getting into the rugby whilst here, which is a much as shock to me as I am sure it is to everyone else. So even thought the hostel made me feel uncomfortable I had a great first day getting to know my new home.

This building is made from wood, it really looks like it is made from stone.I find the oddest  things facinating at times.

I left the hostel after three nights not really having a plan, just knowing I wanted to leave having still been ignored for the majority of my time. I dressed fairly smart and decided to give it a try finding a job and had some success. I signed up with some agencies and actually did well on all the tests that they made me do. I was in one agency for five hours. Scoring 100% on the power-point test which the lady who interviewed had never seen before . It was common sense on the most part so did not really understand the fuss. I also have the option of working in a café in three weeks if I want it.

Whilst looking for work I found a new hostel which is a lot bigger than the other one. It was an old hotel so all the rooms have bathrooms and are really nice and light. It has a large communal area which is good, if you want to talk to people there are plenty of people to do so and if not then people don't look like they are judging you and are happy to leave you alone. If anyone ever comes to New Zealand I would recommend this city for the cheap rooms and amazing communal kitchen plus the fact it is so close to the train station and ferries.

Whilst in the hostel I have met some lovely people who boosted my morale and have had a great time exploring the city with them. Clara ( a German girl) and Kris (American lady) I met other people along the way as well but they will stick in my mind for my first week in Wellington.

As I had decided to make Wellington my base I thought it best to get out of hostels and find my own place, mainly to make it cheaper. But also it will be nice to meet people who live and work in the city and stop living out of my backpack. I went house hunting on Wednesday and Thursday Looking at around eight different places in the city. This was a great opportunity to see the city and get my bearings a little bit more. I saw some good and bad places and became aware of what to look for. Because Wellington is nestled in hills you have to make sure the house gets enough light, it doesn't smell damp and the house has some form of heating as many don’t have any and just a wood burning fire in the living room. One house in particular I was happy to get out of particularly when he said one of the conditions of living there was playing dungeons and dragons once a week. I thought he was joking, but when I laughed he looked highly offended wooops.

My new house is somewhere around here.

On Thursday I found the perfect place. It is in an area called Hatatai about a 25 min walk to the centre of Wellington and a 10min walk to the beach. It is a house with five other people a Kiwi couple another Kiwi guy an English guy and a Dutch guy. I met two of them and the guy who'd room I will be taking over from they all seemed very friendly. They are all between 25 and 30 and the house just seemed a really happy house. The lease is till mid February so that puts me here till then. I move in on Friday 28th October.

I have decided this week that I am old! On the Thursday and Friday nights I sampled Wellington’s night life. Oh boy did I suffer after, not even drinking very much. :s So much so that I opted to go to the cinema on the Saturday night so I felt like I was out but would not be tempted to drink. Both nights were good fun. Meeting lot's of people on the way. I have heard in new Zealand there is a shortage of women and I kinda get this impression the men are certainly not backwards in coming forwards. After a couple of evil glares from me and looks of boredom I think the guys got the impression I was not interested :) Friday night also resulted in me thinking I could speak French which I really can not do. Unless it is a gift I never knew I had.

Spring time in the Bontanic Gardens
On Friday Clara and I became tourists again and went on the cable car up to the Botanic gardens and walked our way back down to the city. A must do for anyone coming to the city. You could get lost in the gardens, which we did a number of times.

The cable car up to the Bontic gardens.

A little odd to have a graveyard on here, but at the bottom of the gardens is this old grave site that over half of had to be dug up for the motorway. :(

Saturday was another gorgeous spring day and I spent it very content exploring the harbour-side finding a very cute craft market which I will have fun visiting over the next couple of months. Followed by a lovely evening at the cinema.



Till next time.

Katie .x.x

Monday, 17 October 2011

I made it, wooooo

Hi and welcome to my blog. Hopefully I will update it fairly regularly and there will not be too many spelling mistakes :)

So I did it I made it to New Zealand and have just completed my first week here. After all my talk for a year about coming over it is amazing to actually be in the country. So far I have tried to do a mix of job hunting and seeing New Zealand. The job hunting part does not seem to be moving very fast at the moment. I'm not too worried, yet, I’m sure this will change soon.

I arrived in Auckland on Saturday 8th Oct with my plan extending to a hostel booked for three days and that was it. Eeeek. To be honest when I got of the plane, after barely any sleep, all I wanted to curl up and cry. But after a quick pep talk to myself in the toilets I bounced back. I was in New Zealand this was a time to be happy not being a baby hiding in the airport toilets.

I arrived to the quarter finals taking place and Auckland buzzing with excitement, I met a great girl (Becky- English) in my room who had been in New Zealand for three months and showed me around and took me to the fan zone. Areas set up in cities around New Zealand where you can watch the rugby on a big screen. The buzz in the fan zones has even got me into Rugby. Although I did switch sides half way through supporting the French I don't think I am a very loyal fan if I do this, woops. I then had my first experience of a night out in New Zealand, good fun was had. Meeting lot's of new people. 

Watching England at the FanZone Auckland, 8th October

My next day I spent exploring Auckland and trying to recover from jet-lag and a hangover. Woops. I also figured it was about time I came up with a plan, at least for the rest of the week. I wanted to leave Auckland for a while as I was not getting a true feel for the city whilst the rugby was on. It is also ridiculously expensive at the moment so I was happy to leave it to the Rugby fans. 

My 5 day plan (I have decided not to plan to far ahead as I keep meeting people so this changes all the time.
Tue – Fri: Hire a car and check out areas of the North Island where possible jobs are or where I stand a chance of getting work. I have decided after talking to people I stand most chance in cities, as small towns would prefer the teachers to speak a little Maori.

Saturday: Over-lander train to Wellington

I had seen a school in an area called the Bay of Pleanty. So this was my first port of call. You may have heard of this area at the moment. This is the area that the ship has become wrecked on the reef. It was great to get out of the city and start to see New Zealand seeing some amazing countryside on my way to Tauranga I lovely little sea side town that is really worried about the effects the wreck is going to have on their summer this year. Fingers crossed it all gets sorted before the main tourist season starts.

On my first night in Tauranga I started chatting to some people who were planning on going to an area called Hot water beach the next day. I offered to drive if I could tag along and we could share the petrol. I am so glad I did as I had an amazing day driving up the beautiful coast to the Coramandal area and digging a hole in a beach with Charlie (British Guy) and Now (Japanese Girl)

Looking out onto Mercury Bay - 19th Oct

Hot water beach is a long beautiful beach located between Tairua and Whitianga. This beach is unique though because it has an underground river of hot water flowing underneath it in certain areas. Every day at two hours either side of low tide visitors flock to the usually deserted Hot Water Beach to find hot water bubbling through the golden sand. It was crazy when we first arrived as no one really knows what to do you just see lot's of people either stood on a hot spot waiting for the tide to go out so they could start to dig their own little thermal pool. A small people had started to dig, trying to stop the sea ruining their holes.

People looking for a hot spot.
I have never seen so many grown people excited about digging holes in sand. After about 30 minutes we finally found an area we thought might make a hot pool and began to dig. With a little bit of assistance from two other British guys (we kinda stole their hole, I don't think they were to bothered though, they just wanted to dig not sit in the warm water) we managed to create a lukewarm hot pool. We sat in it for 5 min and decided it was time for lunch, haha not really reaping the benefits of all our hard work. But boy I was ready for that steak sandwich :) 

Hot water Beach - 19th Oct

The drive back to Tauranaga was pretty amazing with me driving the steepest ,windiest road I have driven on. When catching a brief look at the view I got really excited, thinking my passengers would as-well but it seemed all their digging on the beach had worn them out and they were missing out on my scary driving and the view fast asleep. This took us over to the west coast of the Coramandel.  

From some point on the road trip

One of the bends on the steep hill, it really does not give the best sense of what it was like.

Whilst in the area I got chance to meet a member of staff at the school who seemed encouraging about finding work out, fingers crossed. I also started the process of living here a bit more permanently, getting a NZ number and bank account. A rather productive two days I felt :) I loved the Bay of Pleanty and Coramandel area and shall defiantly be going back during my time in New Zealand, hopefully in the summer and take full advantage of the beaches.

After leaving Tauranga I headed inland to Hamilton as I have seen a job in this area and wanted to check what the area was like. I was in the area for one day liking the area and the people but not fully sure if I would want to live around here. It has the benefit that it is central so easy to drive to many places. But after being by the sea for three days I think I would prefer this, although Hamilton would have more going on in the Winter. Hamilton is a smallish city about the size of Preston. It is land locked but has a stunning river running through it. It seemed to have a good mix of things happening during the day and at night. I went to a great open music night during my time there. On the Friday I wanted to go to some caves nearby but did not have enough time before heading back to Auckland to drop off my car. I am certainly getting a huge list of things I want to do whilst in New Zealand, but hey there is no rush I have two years.

Hamilton - Waikato River

Hamilton Gardens

Hamilon Gardens

Earlier in the week I had decided to go get the over-lander train to the south of the North Island and see what Wellington is like and decide if I wanted to make this my base. The over-lander train took 12 hours and was unlike any train I have got before. You have a running commentary throughout the train ride explaining the area. It has a viewing platform and lounge area, very comfortable. It gave me a chance to see the North Island whilst getting from one end to the other fairly quickly. 

Pictures from the train, I took so many it was really hard to choose.

Argh windy....

So that was my first week. In a rather rambling way. Hope you enjoyed reading.

It is a beautiful day outside and my fingers are getting bored of typing. So I shall love and leave you all. Till next time.

Katie :)